Each time I write a column about Donald Trump, the heated texts from Floyd (not his real name) start coming, accusing me of being hateful and unfair. Floyd is especially reactive when I call out Trump for his economic and immigration policies, which I consider racist and discriminatory.
Floyd has told me, on a few occasions, that I should be careful about what I write—sometimes it pisses people off. That’s OK; Trump pisses me off constantly.
When it comes to politics, Floyd and I are polar opposites. He’s looking for a John Wayne-type president—six-gun strapped to his side, racing across the sagebrush on his white horse—leading the country back to those good old days when “might made right” and the coloreds, foreigners, and outsiders knew their place. I appreciate the browning of America and find the differences among people thought-provoking and stimulating.
Lately, Floyd’s texts have become increasingly angry: “They’re taking unfair advantage of this country. Trump is not racist; he just cares more about us. We are the future; we know how to work hard and get things done. Trump is putting the world in its place, but he’s getting whipped from all sides by the media.”
In one text after another, Floyd rants about Trump not being a racist. I find it tiring and have had just about enough.
Yes, the news media has confronted Trump repeatedly about his racist diatribes and attitudes. But, like Floyd, he reacts indignantly, spouting denials: “I’m the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered.”
So, let’s take a long look at Trump’s actual record and his brand of racist leadership. It’s damaged many and will affect our youth, and their emerging beliefs, for years to come.
During the presidential campaign, Trump made explicitly racist and bigoted remarks, calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists; proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., and suggesting a judge should recuse himself from a case solely because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. Trump was repeatedly slow to condemn the white supremacists who endorsed him, retweeting their messages; and tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton in front of a pile of money and beside a Jewish Star of David that said, “Most corrupt candidate ever!”
As president, Trump pandered to white supremacists after a violent rally in Charlottesville, saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence and chaos that ensued, and that there were “some very fine people” among the Nazi sympathizers. Trump cracked jokes publicly about the Trail of Tears—the forced relocation of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands. He stereotyped black reporters and embarrassed them publicly.
Trump has a long history of racist controversies which Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times has written about extensively. For brevity, I will summarize his list:
In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Trump Management Corporation for violating the Fair Housing Act. Trump refused to rent to black tenants and lied to black applicants about whether apartments were available.
In 1989, four black teenagers and one Latino teenager, the “Central Park Five,” were wrongly accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. Trump ran full-page ads in local papers demanding, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.” The teens’ convictions were later vacated after they spent up to 13 years in prison. In October 2016, Trump said he still believes they’re guilty, despite a confession by the actual perpetrator and DNA evidence.
In 1991, the former president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City quoted Trump’s criticism of a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it.” Trump first denied the remarks, but, in a 1997 Playboy interview, said it was true.
In 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino paid a $200,000 fine because it transferred black and women dealers off tables to accommodate gamblers’ prejudices.
In 1993, during congressional testimony, Trump said that “Indians [Native Americans] shouldn’t be allowed to operate casinos.”
In 2011, Trump played a major role in promulgating false rumors that Barrack Obama, saying the country’s first black president was not born in the U.S. Trump also argued that Obama wasn’t a good enough student to have gotten into Columbia College or Harvard Law School and demanded that Obama release his university transcripts.
Throughout 2017, Trump repeatedly denounced NFL players who demonstrated against systemic racism in America by kneeling or otherwise silently protesting during the national anthem.
Also, in 2017, Trump claimed that people who came to the U.S. from Haiti “all have AIDS.” Trump also lamented that people who came to the U.S. from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” once they saw America.
In January 2018, while discussing immigration policy at a Republican fundraising event, Trump, referring to Haiti and African countries, stated, “Why are we having all these people from s*#thole countries come here?” He then suggested that the U.S. should take more people from countries like Norway.
Is Trump a racist, Floyd? You tell me.